On July 20th, the Washington County Commissioners awarded the final three projects for the third phase of the Broadband Program to Comcast. This group of projects is the largest and the most expensive since the start of the initiative back in 2021. These projects will extend broadband access too 2,600 previously unserved locations in East Finley Twp., Donegal Twp., and areas around 10 Mile Creek.
The total cost of these projects will be $27.8 million, with the county exhausting the available ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds, putting $18.8 million towards the completion. The county has positioned itself for additional funding opportunities through programs like BEAD, PA CPF, and ARC POWER. Comcast has committed to cover whatever balance remains after the county receives funds from one or more of these programs.
This entire broadband program that the county has taken on is its largest. Costing $60.5 million and targeting 7,500 unserved locations. Since January of 2021, the commissioners have allocated $30 million in ARPA funds towards the project. An additional $24.7 million has been contributed by five awarded internet service providers (ISPs). Those providers are Hickory Telephone, DQE Communications, Verizon, Kinetic by Windstream, and Comcast. They were all chosen from a pool of sixty-seven proposals submitted over 18 months.
While highlighting the progress that has been made so far and speaking about the work left to do, John Timney of the Washington County Authority compared it to a nine-inning game in which we are only in the third, signifying that the work to increase and expand broadband access across Washington County is far from being complete.
It is clear that this work will continue for a while. CCJ will be watching out for new information and providing updates as we receive them. For questions and or further information about the county’s broadband program, please contact the Washington County Authority at email@example.com